The Wisdom Blog: Classic & Contemporary Buddhism

11 questions to ask yourself about aging

by Kathleen Dowling Singh
May 20, 2015
Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:00 -- Kathleen Dowlin...

1. What is your age?

2. How do you feel about aging?

  • How has your appearance changed?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • How has your position in the world changed?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • How has your reception in the world changed?
  • How do you feel about it?
  • How have your perceptions about yourself changed?
  • How do you feel about it?

3. Have your values changed as you have aged? Which values have been discarded? Which have been consciously chosen and retained? What are your emerging values?

4. What are your fears about your own experience of aging—to date and in the future?

5. What views about aging and the elderly—both positive and negative—have you absorbed from your cultural and family background, and how do you feel these may be unconsciously influencing your current thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes? In what ways have you deliberately tried to counter any of these background attitudes that you feel are negative or unhelpful?

6. As you consider your inner life—your general state of ease or unease—what still needs healing? Are there habit patterns of thoughts and feelings, perhaps left over from decades ago, that still cause stress? Do you see it as possible to work through these obstructions? What are you doing to release any remaining, persistent habit patterns so as to spend the rest of your life in a mind that is more peaceful and at ease?

7. In which aspects of living have you most directed your attention and energy to date? What has been nurturing, fulfilling, supportive? What has been stressful for you?

8. How do you intend to direct your attention and energy in the years remaining to you?

9. What losses have you faced? What losses do still you face? How do you cope with loss? What would help you cultivate the capacity to better handle inevitable loss, to maintain a relationship of greater ease with impermanence?

10. What are your thoughts about your death? What inner strengths are you developing or do you wish to work on developing so as to face sickness, aging, and death with greater peace and equanimity?

11. What are your thoughts about spiritual maturity? What is your commitment to your own spiritual maturity? What steps have you taken? What steps do you intend to take? What keeps you from taking them now?

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